The independent London newspaper

Calm advice is essential

13 March, 2020

Coronavirus fears hit trade in Chinatown

• IMPORTANT insights into Sinophobia from Murad Qureshi prompts the query about why we are so susceptible to paranoid conspiracy theories whenever a virus appears, (Sinophobia needs to be dealt with head on, March 6).

From Jews erroneously blamed for the 14th-century Black Death, every pandemic has resulted in blaming others, folk devils, using racial and cultural stereotypes, moral and stock market panics, stuff about potential carriers, quarantines and sanitisers.

And now we have to contend with fake news and a social media infodemic, in which trust about experts has broken down, and we are left with zombie face-masks, stockpiling, loo-roll heists and a pretence that splendid isolation will save us.

For those of us who lived through the genuine fear of nuclear war in 1962, historical perspective, rational analysis and calm advice is now essential.

St George’s Fields, W2


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